Adam Park Revisited


All orders from Japanese overseers to POWs on work parties now had to go through the officers. All officers carried the rank of Captain and as such wore a badge of rank of one star. W.O.2 William ‘Blue’ Burgess, ‘A’ Company’s C.S.M. unofficially wore his one star, permitted for the occasion, as he was acting as the
Adjutant at Adam Park.
There were 5 sub camps in this area – Adam Park, Sime Road, Thomson Road (Caldecot Hill Estate) Mount Pleasant Estate and Lornie Road. Three of the camps were former housing estates and the other two were atap style native hutted camps. It appears that men from all these billets or camps worked in the same area, on the one job.
All the camps were located on the southern perimeter of MacRitchie Reservoir and generally referred to as Bukit Timah, Adam Park or Thomson Road work force. The camps were not POW camps with barbed wire, guard posts and searchlights but housing ranging from well to do to the simplest hutted camps.
The Royal Singapore Golf Course was then considered to be one of the best in the world with its water hazards and course layout. The course and clubhouse were located on the southwest corner of MacRitchie Reservoir which itself was located roughly in the middle of Singapore.
The Japanese had decide on this locality as a site for the ‘Fallen Warriors Shrine.’ The water hazards were converted into miniature lakes with rustic bridges and ornamental gardens. On one side of the course was a thickly wooded hill, Bukit Batok that was about 350 feet high. The Japanese decided this would be the perfect site for their shrine. The top of the hill was leveled to form a plateau in the centre about 50 yards square. Leading up to the plateau a stairway was built using granite slabs honed by local Chinese artisans and placed into position by the POWs.
The shrine was a long length of highly polished teak wood that the Japanese had proudly polished themselves. Other work in this area included the cutting of a road through virgin jungle, scenic drive and the Divine Bridge ‘Syonan Binzya.’ This crossed a finger of the reservoir and led to the approach road that continued up to the steps of the Shrine.
There were 7 steam and 3 diesel driven road rollers as well as several tar boilers to macadamize the roads at Adam Park. One of the better-known stories to come out of this camp was how the Australian road roller drivers had convinced their Japanese guard that they needed (puff, puff makan), or in other words, food for their plant machinery. Once the drivers had managed to get their message across to their guard each driver would be issued with 2 gallons of petrol on a daily basis that was then sold on the black market. This ruse continued until a Japanese guard with a little better understanding of engines put a stop to this little pantomime. Bill ‘Bullets’ Struthers was one prisoner involved – providing many laughs for the Australians.